Q. I am a 45-year-old divorced woman with a fairly active social media presence.
After my divorce, I dated someone with no social media, so it was easy. After that ended, I met someone through a friend. He immediately suggested that we connect on Facebook.
We’ve been out quite a few times and it’s been great, but he’s dating other people. That’s fine, and I’m open to seeing other people, too. I’m not even sure of my feelings for him, but seeing posts about his various dates and his active social life makes me uncomfortable.
I can tell who else he’s dating from his posts. It makes me curious and jealous in a way that I don’t like.
What do people these days do about social media when they’re dating, but not settled? Should I mute him? Not connect with people on social media until the relationship is serious?
I know people talk about social media being toxic to teenagers, but I think the age range should be extended!
What’s the protocol? How do I protect myself from myself?
A. Many people actually “meet” on social media, but they’re in another category, because they already know and are attracted to the other person’s style of sharing.
Your guy is using Facebook like a seventh grader (not that kids these days use FB), and it’s triggering you to react like a seventh grader.
You know the truism about STDs: When you’re sleeping with one person, you’re actually sleeping with all the people they’ve slept with. Facebook is like that. When you connect on social media with someone you’re dating, you become tangentially connected with everyone they’re dating. Nobody wants that.
For you, I think it’s wisest to use social media the way all the millennials I know do: Lock it down. Be extremely judicious about what you post and private about your sharing circles.
Mute or hide his posts, and if you want, you can check him out during periods when you’re curious or in the mood (no drunk-scrolling allowed).
In the future, it might be best for you not to dive into a Facebook connection early on with someone you’re seeing.
This is the best way to save you from yourself — it also saves you having to go through the whole “unfriending” process later on, if things don’t work out.
Q. My wife and I were friends with another couple for more than 40 years. The wife died and we have remained close with the husband.
After his wife’s death, the husband started dating and met a woman that he wanted us to meet. The four of us met for dinner and then had dessert at our home. During the evening we continued to ask questions to the guest about children, travel, life experiences, interests, etc., however, the woman never asked us anything during the several hours together, and this is a red flag for us.
Our friend wants us to share his new friend with us, however, we are hesitant to engage again.
How do we handle this? Try another evening?
A. I completely agree that someone who doesn’t show any interest in others is a big red flag. But consider this: After your evening together, your friend’s date might have said to him, “Wow, what’s with all the questions? Why the third degree?”
My point is that although you and your wife sound very gracious, meeting very dear friends is a nerve-wracking experience for someone just coming onto the scene. This woman might have felt overwhelmed, and was doing her best to keep up by answering questions in a way that would endear and impress you.
I always think that a good ice breaker to prompt a newly dating couple is, “Tell us the story of how you met.” This usually involves both parties excitedly trading back and forth, and details about their own lives start to spill out.
I hope you will give her a few more chances to relax into a more natural give-and-take.
Q. You state that it is now standard to tip the stylist/barber even if they own the business.
I would like to know who came up with this standard. I feel like we are becoming an over-tipping society.
TIPPING TOO MUCH
A. I make the rules! (Just kidding.)
There is an increased awareness of a widening divide between service providers and their clients. Higher wages or added “service charges” might diminish tipping, as it has done in some other countries.
Amy Dickinson can be reached at email@example.com.